5.8 Raising political awareness among young people
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The National Electoral Commission (CNE) is a public body of reference in Portugal, which provides details about all electoral acts to citizens, which naturally includes young people. The CNE aims to:
- Promote the objective clarification of electoral acts and referendums to citizens, in particular through the media;
- Ensure the equal treatment of citizens in all acts of census and electoral/referendum operations;
- Ensure equal opportunities for the action and propaganda of the candidacies to a specific election and of the parties involved in the campaigns for referendums.
In addition to being the legislative body of the Portuguese State, the Assembly of the Republic also has a didactic and informative dimension targeted at the general public, and the younger audience in particular. With the Youth Space (Espaço Jovem)/ Friends of the Assembly (Os Amigos da Assembleia), the parliament is explained in a simple and playful manner. Guided tours to the Parliament and interactive tours are also available.
The Secretariat of State for Youth and Sports and the IPDJ, I.P., develop several initiatives, or are partners of other public or private bodies, for the dissemination of information on rights and democratic values of young people.
Specific contact points
Among its duties, the Ponto JA Information Centres of the IPDJ, I.P., aim to promote and develop citizenship values. Currently, there are 19 Ponto JA spots in the facilities of the decentralised services and at the headquarters of the IPDJ, I.P.
The Ponto JA Information Centres fall within the competencies of the Department of Information, Communication and International Relations of the IPDJ, I.P., in regard to ‘executing and monitoring the information policy of the IPDJ, I.P., favouring the use of the local network of places of attendance, the sports and youth portals and helplines’, according to Decree no. 11/2012 (article 3rd, paragraph 2 b).
The operating costs of Ponto JA Information Centres are incorporated in the operating costs of the IPDJ, I.P.
70 NOW! Campaign (70 JÁ!)
70 NOW! is a nation-wide information campaign on young people’s rights, as stated in article 70th of the Portuguese Constitution. It started in the beginning of 2017 and lasts until 2019. It is being promoted by the Ministry of Education, Secretary of State for Youth and Sport and IPDJ.
The Constitution has been a hot topic in the media and in public opinion. Over the past few years, there has been a lot of discussion about the contemporaneity and relevance of constitutional rights. Taking into account that the country has celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Portuguese Constitution in 2016, the Secretariat of State for Youth and Sports launched the 70 NOW! campaign, in order to put youth constitutional rights on the political agenda.
The information campaign is developed online and offline with a heavy presence, for instance, on social media websites, schools and regional delegations of the Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth. It was highlighted in UN’s annual Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on «Youth and Human Rights» (reference A/HRC/39/33, 28th June 2018), in paragraph 83, as a national example of initiatives for the empowerment of young people in the exercise of their rights.
- To call upon the need to protect and defend young people’s rights;
- To empower young people to claim their rights, in order to promote young people’s participation and engagement in political and civic life;
- To highlight the importance of the Constitution and democratic values in young people’s daily life;
- To promote youth mainstreaming in governmental policies, acknowledging that special protection of youngsters’ rights reduces their vulnerability when it comes to the effectuation of their human rights.
- Young people aged between13 and 30 years;
- Youth workers;
Main topics to be addressed, by year:
- 2016: Education and labour;
- 2017: Political and civic participation, identity and civil liberties;
- 2018: Culture and health, including physical education and sports;
- 2019: Participation (political participation and global citizenship) and culture.
Since 2017 and 2019 are electoral years for local power and for the national and European parliament, respectively, the 70 NOW! campaign aimed to fight youth abstention and to raise awareness on the possibility of young people to be candidates and to enrol in political active life.
The campaign had a budget of 15,000 € in 2018, in which 56 young volunteers participated. In 2019, the campaign had a budget of 35,000 €, with 38 young volunteers participating.
Youth Parliament (Parlamento dos Jovens)
The Youth Parliament is an educational programme to promote citizenship, which aims to boost the interest of young people in civic and political participation.
Approved by Resolution no. 42/2006, of 2nd June, the Youth Parliament programme is an initiative of the Portuguese Parliament, whose implementation is developed in partnership with the following entities: the Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth; the Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Regional Secretariats of Education and Youth of Madeira and the Azores.
It is intended for young people attending the 2nd and 3rd cycle levels of basic education and attending high school (secondary education). The Youth Parliament programme is an initiative that takes place in the country’s public, private and cooperative education, and in Portuguese communities inside and outside Europe.
The programme includes three stages during the school year. The third stage takes place in the Parliament, where elected young deputies meet, at a national level, representing each district or autonomous region. In this meeting, after a debate in committees and plenary, the final recommendation on the issue of that Youth Parliament’s edition is approved.
This competition aims to select Portuguese schools that will participate in Euroschool sessions at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. It involves all secondary schools participating in the Youth Parliament.
The IPDJ has long been working for the growth and promotion of young people’s active participation. As a result, several regular events were established, being co-organised by youth structures, such as the National Youth Council and FNAJ – National Federation of Youth Organisations.
Consequently, the annual day dedicated to youth organisations is celebrated on the 30th of April, and the celebrations are usually national, with a focal point and a wide series of activities dedicated to disseminate the values of association, participation, youth activities, volunteering and non-formal education.
Another example is the International Youth Day, on the 12th of August, where various activities are regularly organised, also under a youth co-organisation basis: in the last years, the activities have directly involved thousands of young citizens.
The Volunteer Day, on the 5th of December, is also an important reference in the annual youth calendar. On this day, the event commemorating the awarding of the "Associativism and Youth Volunteering" prizes has taken place, including the competitions "Good Practices I Associativism Student", "Good Practices I Associativism Youth", "Good Practices I Volunteering Youth" and "Youth for Equality".
No Hate Speech Movement
At a national level, the Council of Europe’s No Hate Speech campaign was coordinated by the IPDJ, I.P., which created a National Committee for the coordination and implementation of strategies and actions of the campaign, currently comprised of 18 public and private bodies.
This European campaign’s main objective was to combat online hate speech, discrimination and racism, raising awareness about its risks to democracy and promoting young people's involvement in the defence of human rights, digital participation and citizenship.
The IPDJ coordinated the national implementation of strategies and actions of the campaign, with the active collaboration and participation of other entities and youth associations looking to carry out campaign actions among young people and the general population.
The campaign in Portugal took place, both online and offline, focused around some strong moments such as training and information activities, thematic seminars, street actions and other initiatives, following the European dynamic through the celebration of the European Action Days and addressing specific themes proposed at the European level, such as: sexist hate speech, support to refugees, solidarity with the victims of hate crimes, islamophobia and religious intolerance, antisemitism, etc.
The European campaign has come to an end, but the online movement for human rights will continue.
In accordance with the Final Declaration of the Review Conference held in Strasbourg in April 2018, IPDJ will continue active, vigilant and committed to keeping alive the online movement for human rights, preserving its youth and relevance, inviting all the partner entities and youth associations to join in.
What if it Was Me?… (E se Fosse Eu? Fazer a Mochila e Partir)
The What if it Was Me? campaign is a joint initiative of the Support Platform to Refugees (Plataforma de Apoio aos Refugiados), the High Commission for Migration (ACM, I.P.), the National Youth Council (CNJ) and the Directorate-General of Education (Direção Geral de Educação). The campaign targets schools and the general public, with the goal of ‘providing an opportunity to empathise with people that flee the war in Syria and seeks humanitarian protection; raising the awareness of the Portuguese society, especially young people, to the reception of refugees in Portugal; promoting the reflexion and debate on what would be like living in the situation of a refugee’. The campaign began in April 2016.
Information to young people is a IPDJ 's (Portuguese Institute of Youth and Sport) field work, grounded and in tune with ERYICA’s work — European Youth Information and Counselling Agency, where Portugal is represented by IPDJ since its foundation.
ERYICA conducts its intervention in the terms indicated in the European Youth Information Charter. This Charter, whose original draft was approved by ERYICA in 1993, was incorporated in the IPDJ’s Statutes (No. 2 article 3. Ordinance No. 11/2012, 11th January), having been revised and updated in April 2018, in ERYICA’s General Assembly in Cascais, Portugal.
Nowadays IPDJ is partner with several projects developed by ERYICA, namely in the Development of e-Learning Methodologies in Trainers Training in Information for Youth and in the Promotion of e-Participation in the information work for young people.